WIMD – Constant Service

WIMD

With the introduction of Zain’s 4G Router people had options for their homes and remote locations. 4G has drastically changed people’s options, even with the caps it isn’t too bad. But at this point the links have gotten somewhat saturated still it’s faster then land lines, you get between 10 to 20 MB on a constant level when nobody’s online you might get 25 to 30 MBs.

For my case I can only get up to 0.5 MB on my land line so that isn’t an option and fiber has been promised since 2008 and I wouldn’t be holding my breath for that. WIMD has been the best and most consistent option for me, they are company who are genuinely trying to improve their services.

I have had a 20 MB subscription with them since they first opened over a year and a half ago and after about a year it would get as far as 14 MB and wouldn’t come close to 20 MB. That was after February when my subscription was renewed. The service would go down every once in a while but no longer then 30 minutes at most and their support is very responsive. But that happens at most once a week sometimes the whole month is fine.

In June of this year I was contacted by WIMD Sales for my 20 MB Subscription to reduce it to the 15 MB Subscription since they couldn’t retain the 20 MB Speed, and they refunded my the difference right away, even discounting the period from February until June which is very surprising for an ISP. So instead of the 1250 KWD that I paid, they refunded me the difference of 400 KWD down to 850 KWD even though it has been four months since the subscription started. Then on top of that since June onwards my connection which would hit between 16 to 18 MB on downloads consistently without any issues.

They do have some technical issues but they are working through it and the issues aren’t repeated, they are growing their bandwidth because the service speeds in my case has improved. And their service has been constant, unlike what I have seen from Mada who came out strong out of the gate but invested in the wrong technology and failed to improve upon it, ending up with some very crappy services. In my opinion WIMD has excellent service and for some people I know they have had bad experiences because of their location, but in my case honestly it has been fantastic and I hope they keep this up and gain more subscribers because of it.

WIMD – A Little While Later

After a few months of use I have had a good experience with WIMD overall, it hasn’t gone south like a lot of people were worried about. But they are taking steps to make sure their service remains top notch. I hope they stick to the no capping rule, I have been downloading consistently and getting speeds from 1.4 to 2.1 MB depending on what I am download, shows that took 50 mins now download in less then 4 to 7 mins. Gaming has gotten a lot better as well, I am playing multiplayer without any issues at all, I just did a huge XBox update within mins, before I would wait for over an hour to finish the update.

Recently they are adding people very slowly, I think it is good for their current customers. I know it can be frustrating for new customers but they are taking it slowly and not over subscribing people. The current wait time is between 1 to 2 months and I honestly can’t blame them, they are being patient adding customers so they don’t flood themselves. What I liked also is that when I spoke to their customer service center they do admit their is a problem instead of telling you to reset your modem multiple times before they tell you the truth which has happened with a few ISPs before. They say there is a problem and it will take a day to fix since it is new to them, they aren’t a full ISP, they are like a learning ISP and their honesty is refreshing. Overall I am very happy with their service and recommend it to people. Keep in mind that if you have high speed connectivity through a land based or fiber connection that is always preferable but if you are like me with a crappy land connection then WIMD is an excellent option, the only limitation is the matter of LOS which line of sight to their tower. I think recently they have been charging people to do a sight survey in people’s homes but I don’t think that is right, I think they should offer it without it but those are in need would pay for it, but I’m not sure what the cost of the sight service is.

ISP Customer Bill of Rights

ServerRoom

There has been a lot going on with ISPs the last 6 months and I was thinking what could the bill of rights of customers be, we are tired of fighting but we will fight for what is our right. Then there is the MoC which is truly a disaster with very little improvements to look forward to in the near future. But below is a simple customer bill of rights which I think is common sense.

  • Appointments should be kept (Engineers should be on time)
  • Installation windows should be no longer than two hours (Come on you’ve done a million times now)
  • Get it right the first time (If there is a problem it isn’t our responsibility to figure it out)
  • Deliver the speed we pay for (Thats just simple! If our lines can’t support the speed we paid for then refund us the difference to the speed that it can support)
  • Our bills should be accurate (This one is clear)
  • Don’t cap our bandwidth (Period)
  • Equip your call centers to do everything (They should be useful on the phone not useless)
  • Honor all your offers (Don’t sell us one thing and give us another)

Fiber Optic Sea Cables In The Region

I have always wondered what are the speeds of the fiber optic cables reaching Kuwait and the land based cables reaching Kuwait. Whenever we face an issue with slow internet they blame cut cables, even when it isn’t the case, they just find it convenient to say that. I just came across this website which documents a very large majority of all the fiber optic sea cables in the world, their speeds, when they were connected, and a lot of other information. You can tell what is landing in Kuwait and the speeds. This is supposed to be the sea based map, I hope that it incorporates the land based fiber information at a later point, at this point in time we have a higher dependability on land based fibers coming from Saudi Arabia then we do sea based fibers, and Kuwait is in need of a lot of bandwidth.

Link: CableMap

Back On The Ground

TheWater

Being disconnected from internet when you have a lot of activities feels slightly strange. Its not that I was completely disconnected, just that I couldn’t really use the internet available very well since it worked at a snails pace. I tried using the internet at the hotel but it would time out a lot and take a lot of time to load normal items such as my email and very light browsing, I tried downloading an attachment but that took so long I had to cancel it.

I was lucky that I got a Vodafone UK Prepaid chip which works fantastic in Europe with Data, just top it up comfortably and even Data works while roaming in Europe in even remote locations but it wasn’t enough to go through my RSS feeds, but I could go through my emails and get on Twitter & GooglePlus. I am loving the Google Plus application on my Android, really streamlines it and gives you lots of options for uploading when roaming. Even the Vodafone UK Roaming chip is 100 times cheaper then Data Roaming on your Zain Chip and much better service and connectivity, I do wish that Zain Services improve until it reaches the levels of Vodafone, but doesn’t look like it any time soon. And before I had a problem with my RSS Feed being over 1000, but now that has gone way past 1000, I think its close to 12000 articles and it would take me at least 3 months to bring it down, and my problem is that I HATE using the “Mark All As Read” button.

Viva Data Caps – Sucks!

VivaSucks

In the last 24 hours Viva has applied data caps all its internet “Unlimited” package. It used to be the favored internet connectivity for people and companies. With these Caps it has become useless, people don’t realize the amount of data used when your surfing sites like Youtube or gaming online. Thankfully I’m dependent on the Fasttelco and Kems for my gaming and Downloading needs, and during that time of the crazy dust storms Viva was great but with these Data Caps Viva are now down in the dumps, no reason to keep the subscription, time to end the subscription.

Data Caps:

  • 2GB per Day – I already hit that right away
  • 60GB per Month

Viva 21MB vs Zain 21MB vs Viva 7MB vs Fasttelco 2MB

Viva7MB

Viva 7.2MB Connection

All these speeds and insanity just keeps getting confused, nothing is really true until you get it in your location and do some testing. So I had a chance to try out all of the above and I had some surprising results, keeping in mind that Fasttelco is a 2MB Wimax Connection and not a landline connection.

Fasttelco2MB

Fasttelco 2MB Connection

Fasttest Connection:

  • Viva 7.2 MB
  • Fasttelco 2MB
  • Viva 21MB
  • Zain 21MB

Viva21MB

Viva 21MB Connection

Most Constant/Stable Connection:

  • Fasttelco 2MB
  • Viva 7.2MB
  • Viva 21MB
  • Zain 21MB

Zain21MB

Zain 21MB Connection

Those were some surprising results and you can see from download screenshots, and this is in Mishref, it could be different in other areas. Some people told me the best connection is the 21MB Viva connection in the city.

Etisalat & du

du_etisalat

Lots of people have had experience with Etisalat in one way or another, and Etisalat owns a large chunk of Du so its pretty much the same company but its pretty odd how their coverage is slightly different. Everyone knows that Etisalat is one of the most rigid networks to have, they aren’t cheap, they really work hard to block your content, and they aren’t the best service.

The funny is that as we were approaching Dubai my Blackberry started dinging, I thought it was off and we were still 7000 feet in the air. I look at the phone and I was receiving the bbms, emails, and smses. I look at the network provider and I was connected to Du, all the way until the plane landed.

Now this is what I face every time I’m in Dubai:

With Etisalat:

  • I can make local and international phone calls with out an issue on a normal phone
  • When I connect using my Blackberry, I can’t get any BB service or msgs but the phone works normally

With Du:

  • With my normal phone I can make local calls but when I try to make international calls I always get Network Busy, calls don’t go through
  • With the Blackberry all the services work and I can make local and international calls

No matter what I did this always seems to be the case with these networks. Same situation that I mentioned in Bahrain with Batelco & Zain.

Packet Life – Cheat Sheets

CPCheatSheet

For those moments you want some technical breakdowns of documents packetlife has the best cheat sheets I have ever seen. I wish I had these during my networking classes, it would have been easy to remember all the different routing protocols and the best part is the ports cheat sheet, they really go into a lot of detail, for any techi there are some really useful documents. They have done an excellent job of simplifying and presenting the information, color coding, and relating the right info.

Link: PacketLife

Review: Zain E-Go 21.6 MB/s

I was contacted by Zain to try out their new 21.6 Mbps E-Go and put it through the loop and see what its all about. The packaging seems to be nice and small, got a post-paid chip to try it out, took it out of the box getting it ready to plug into my HP Mini 5101. Just to keep in mind the 7.2 Mbps connection of Zain would get around 200 ~ 300 Kbps, so I kept this in mind when I was testing it out.

Its the usual plug and play scenario that everyone is used to, and piece of equipment is even a little better with the new setup. Its a sliding USB connection so its nice and compact, this is the Huawei HPSA+ Slider Model, fits nicely in any bag or pocket even. When you plug it in the USB emulates a CD so your software is installed and launched right away. I went into the technical details of it and trying to mess around it a bit, I had a few places in mind to test it out. When I first heard 21.6 Mbps I took it with a bit of skepticism and thought why not try it out and see what results I get.

Plug it in, configured the connection for the 3.5 G connection and went to my FTP Server which is co-hosted in Europe(Secret Location) to see what I could download a few large files and see what I would get in relation to numbers. I picked a 2.4 GB file to download and it started off at 450 Kbps which is faster then a 4MB land connection, I was impressed right away, its faster then the old 7.2 MBps E-Go right away. As I gave it time the speed fluctuated between 480 Kbps to 960 Kbps, and then I took it a step further, I got into my car and start stopping in different locations to test it out from the 6th ring road to Bida’a to Salmiya and back. I was impressed, there is a fluctuation in speed but it held solid between a 4MB to 9MB connection at 4:00 pm on Friday which is peak pressure time on the network, and so I’m assuming that late night surfing or downloading is going to be even faster then that.

This isn’t a long term test, so I’m going to try it a little bit longer to see what else I can get out of it. Now Zain has an excellent product on their hands with the possibility of great service, they will be giving Internet Service Providers a run for their money but they have to do two things, price it at an acceptable price and keep the service level at a high level. (Click on some of the images to get larger version of the graphs)

ZainSC2

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